A gift to the nation - gold online

I have just finished listening to a podcast from the Australian National Archives about the Gift to the Nation project.  And what a project it is!

The National Archives have digitalised all the WW1 & WW2 files of service men and women.  To jump in and do a records search go to :National Archives Search now. You often don't need dates, just a name will get you there. The National Archives of Australia holds records about service in the Australian defence forces from Federation in 1901, that are more than 30 years old.

My family has a lot of service history, and finding information at the archives has been exciting.  Not only can I find family history information, but I can see the signatures of long ago ancestors.  For one part of my family it was a very emotional find.  My brother in law's mother recently died, and after the funeral we were discussing family, and started talking about my brother in law's father.   No one in the family knew anything about his service records, so I offered to find them on the Nat. Archives site. 

My sister in law and I searched the site and the records were listed, but not yet digitised.  So we requested them, which is as simple as clicking on a button on the screen.  A few days later I was sent a link to the records.  Well they turned out to be 60 pages long.  His whole file had survived.  It showed when he enlisted, the attestation form, as well as where he had served and when he had leave etc.  A fantastic resource for the family.  And an emotional one, it turned out that the family really did want to know about that part of his life.  There were tears all around upon reading page after page of the document. 

When I searched for my Stettler family ancestors I found gold.  Both brothers who had come to Australia from Switzerland (we think) had enlisted in WW1.  They enlisted at a young age in 1916, fortunately they both came back.

One of the other areas to search for Australian military information is at the War Memorial itself, I found some wonderful photos there. Search for a person's information  Here,  Search the nominal role for WW2 here.  To search the Commonwealth  War Graves Commission click here, they have information about anyone who died and is buried overseas.

Tip #8
There are various ways to search both the CWG & WM sites, so make sure you utilise them ALL.  Read the information and guides on the site thoroughly to find everything you can, and come back after a while to see if anything is new.

Subscribe to the Australian Archives podcast on itues, and click here for  information on Australian family history research. 

They also have a lot of information on preserving records.  To purchase archival quality 'stuff' go to archival survival.com for lots of products at reasonable prices.

I found a photo of my Uncle Fred's grave in El-Alamain, Egypt , covered in wattle by the diggers on Armistise  day - now that is gold!


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